Avoid the Top 5 Mistakes in Event Marketing

Have you ever spent weeks or months planning your booth for a community event, tradeshow, or seminar, only to be left disappointed after the event by the results of your efforts?

Worse yet … have you ever left the event overjoyed by the number of people who came by your booth, only to never see any of them convert into customers?

These two common problems happen when marketers with the best of intentions overlook one (or all) of the top five mistakes in managing event marketing.

Mistake 1. Not Pre-Marketing the Event to Your Database
You should never go to an event without notifying your current clients and prospects that you’ll be there.  Encouraging current clients to come by your booth to learn about new things you offer not only provides a potential opportunity to upsell them, but it also opens the door to referrals.  Clients who are raving fan of your business may attend the event with their friends or colleagues in the industry who don’t yet use your products or services.  Having them say good things about your product at your booth is a big win for your marketing efforts.  Having them say those things in front of your prospects who also visit your booth is the icing on the cake.

There are multiple ways to achieve pre-marketing success.  The first step, though, is ensuring it is a well thought out part of your event marketing plan.

Mistake 2. Not Creating an Interactive Booth
Much like your business must provide a compelling reason for driveby traffic to pop-in or internet traffic to convert to visits on your website, your booth must provide a unique reason for someone to stop and talk to you.  Simply putting out freebies on your table for someone to pickup is not enough.  Sure, you MIGHT go through a lot of freebies from the show trick-o-treaters, but you probably won’t have time to share information with anyone.  An interactive booth is designed to draw people into your booth for a certain period of time, setting the stage for your booth staff to engage with them.

Mistake 3. Not Training Booth Staff to Properly WORK Your Booth
My pet peeve as a marketer is seeing booth staff casually sitting (or standing) behind a table at a booth.  Tables create barriers between booth staff and potential prospects and clients.  Tables are the ultimate “unwelcoming committee” of your booth and should be used sparingly.  If your only table option is the standard rectangle table with a tablecloth, ensure it is placed strategically to discourage separating your staff from event attendees.

You must also ensure your staff has been trained on how to stop prospects and invite them into your booth.  Much like you train other members of your staff to perform as professionals in their roles, every member of your event staff must be trained on how to draw people to the booth, how to engage them, and how to extend an offer that sets up the next step following the show.

One of the best ways to do this is by preparing various scripts that are compelling to your target prospect and role playing those scripts prior to the event.  If your staff isn’t making a valiant effort to pull as many people into your booth as possible, and instead they are hoping flow of traffic alone will draw in the masses, you’re wasting time and money … and potentially the opportunity to service a prospect who doesn’t yet know they need your services.

Mistake 4. Not Having an Offer to Pre-Qualify Your Customers
One of the traps many marketers fall into is the belief that swag sells products. Have you ever said something like, “We gave away 250 hand sanitizer at the event, so I’d say it was a good show.”

It was a good show if you’re in the hand sanitizer business and these were free trials of your product people were trying, accompanied by an offer designed to entice them to buy after they try your product.  Short of that, handing out 250 hand sanitizers is probably a waste of marketing funds.

Creating compelling educational materials to distribute at your events can help you not only qualify booth visitors but also engage them in deeper conversations and set the next step after they leave your booth.  It’s important to note, for an “educational material” to be worth its weight in gold, it must be more than a flyer or trifold brochure.

Mistake 5. Not Having a Follow-Up Marketing Campaign
Finally, you should have a pre-planned follow up marketing campaign that ties into both your pre-show and during-show messaging.  Many people attend shows, get leads, but fail to have a plan in place to follow up and nurture those leads.

Identifying the holes in your marketing plan and developing solutions to mend them is the first step towards dominating your industry.  If you need help developing a way to maximize your booth marketing efforts to generate the most leads and convert them into paying customers, contact us.

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